Re: DSM: Re: SR+ or Find like-minded people

Rick Stansberger (
Tue, 31 Oct 2000 14:41:36 -0700

Robert, how was asking you to get an A in the behavior management course a form
of behavior management? Seems to me that s-r psychology is reactive rather than
pro-active, rewarding or punishing certain behaviors. It seems that you might
be describing a conceptual re-frame more than a simple change in behavior. One
can change behavior without changing attitudes.

This is an interesting discussion, and I have more to say, but I want to focus
on your behavior mod course and how you believe that changed your attitude
toward behaviorism.


Robert Swanson wrote:

> Yes Rick, I agree. But there are Hitlers, and there are Jesuses, and there
> are the masses ignorant of influence, its intent, and its quality. I'd like
> to shed some light on these.
> So many of us are intellects living/hiding in fear with a great need to
> control others. Very little is understood as intrinsic to self. Self is
> projected and lives as though it is in an extrinsic world.
> Were we a more loving society we would not be so protective and abstracted
> from self. We would speak openly of the influence of our feelings and
> understanding. People would respond to this openness with empathy and wisdom
> for mutual survival.
> Public school is so very intellectual and protective and controlling. This
> milieu is a strong stimulus for misusing the science of behavior. Instead of
> manipulating the environment to promote an evolution of compassion and
> understanding, the environment is manipulated to "Dumb Us Down". This
> happens by ringing bells to break up the learning pattern, by detering
> socializing except as competition, and by issuing grades rather than
> allowing pleasure to arise as a consequence to education.
> There is an alternative. Behaviorists used behaviorism on me to enhance my
> learning of behavior management. They asked that if I was going to take
> their class that I get 100% on the exams. I was shocked. Yet I ended up
> enjoying the class and getting 95-100% on the exams (A first in my
> education experience). They changed my whole attitude about learning, to me,
> a miracle.
> Then I used the behavior management skills with severely retarded adults.
> Another miracle. Both the staff and the residents discovered cooperation.
> The goal of our new program was to end the reward system by substituting
> the pleasure of cooperation (social rewards). In a school of wisdom the goal
> would be similar - substitute evaluation of ability for evaluation of extent
> of pleasure as a result of acquiring abilities. Thus we move from
> intellect-knowledge-fear to intelligence-wisdom-love.
> So, what does all this have to do with finding good teachers? Well, they are
> hard to find since most of us are dehumanized rats (actually lizards - read
> Magical Child by Pearce) and don't know how to function out of compassion.
> So it is potluck. Still we can evolve if intellect is not permitted to rule.
> We can use our intellects according to rules that restructure the
> environment to promote an evolution of joy and freedom. First measure how
> often intellects interfere with play (not often at Sudbury). Then measure
> how often intellects provide opportunities that are freely accepted by
> students. The public posting of these measures is usually enough of an
> influence socially to get results. Finally, measure if the program is
> working, evaluate, and make improvements.
> Should the intellects evolve into openhearted mentors the program may evolve
> to an extent that it won't seem to exist any more. Just an excitement and
> cooperation for learning. (Notice that this is probably different than using
> a judicial system to punish people into cooperation.)
> If I may add one comment -- When I took the class in behavior management I
> was shocked to realize the extent and influence of external controls on
> behavior. They are pervasive. Normally we are quite ignorant of them. Nearly
> entirely they are used as controls for intellect-food-sex-power-fight-flight
> and not for evolution-intelligence-empathy-joy-survival. I noticed that the
> world had gone mad. And so the breakdown of society as having little time
> and lots of time spent fixing things.
> Thanks Rick, I have enjoyed this opportunity,
> robert
> >> --- Rick Stansberger <> wrote:
> >>> Robert, they already use the behaviorist model in
> >>> public school, and it
> >>> substitutes conditioning for real learning. When
> >>> the rewards and punishments are
> >>> extrinsic rather than intrinsic, you get conditioned
> >>> responses, not learning.
> >>> Conditioning limits a person and makes her/him more
> >>> predictable and controllable.
> >>> Learning expands a person's capabilities and makes
> >>> her/him less controllable.
> >>> Conditioning is unconscious. Conditioned behaviors
> >>> and thoughts are automatic,
> >>> and very difficult to examine. Learned behaviors
> >>> and thoughts are accessible to
> >>> the conscious mind and can be modified. They are
> >>> also generative. Learning
> >>> begets more learning.
> >>>
> >>> So much for the intellectual part. Now for the
> >>> emotional part. I shuddered when
> >>> you suggested rat-lab stuff for children and I
> >>> wanted to knock you on your butt.
> >>> i don't even know who you are, but 25 years in
> >>> education have absolutely convinced
> >>> me of the EVIL of the stimulus-response model when
> >>> applied to humans. WE ARE NOT
> >>> RATS, DAMN IT!!
> >>>
> >>> We now return you to our normal, reasoned discourse.
> >>>
> >>> Rick

Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

"The Unknown Citizen: (To JS/07/M/37 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)" W. H. Auden

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